Hello to all my family, friends, and coaches back home, at college, and serving the Lord worldwide! I hope this email finds you all doing well and enjoying life. This week has been pretty good and has gone by really fast! Elder S is doing great and seems to improve daily in his confidence as a missionary. Also, big shoutout to my bro for getting his mission call to Birmingham, Alabama! He's gonna kill it, so everyone give him a pat on the back when you see him!
Monday was p day and it was pretty fun! We played some basketball at the Lakeville chapel and that was fun! There were a couple members there cuz it was spring break here so it was good and the Gs came and played ball too! It was a good time. After that we went home and got changed and we decided to go tract this street that Elder K and I started in exchanges but didn't finish. There were a few people we had knocked into that said we could come back so we stopped by those people first. One lady let us in and we taught a restoration lesson to her. She grew up in Mexico and lived right by an LDS church. She knew a little about it but not much. It was a really good lesson and the spirit was definitely there. We invited her to be baptized, but she said she needed to read and pray and ask God if this was the right church before she committed to be baptized. We are teaching her again so hopefully she has started reading and praying!
we had district meeting in the morning and it was really good! I gave a training on being more bold in our invites to people and challenging all those we are teaching to be baptized. Thanks Dad, for sending that talk, it was really good!I'm really enjoying being a district leader. I feel like it's helping me out more than anyone else, but it's definitely helping me be a better missionary. After that we went to Prince of Peace zone service and that was fun, as always! We had a ton of people that came to get food orders so we were super busy. There was like 30 people we did Like half of those people came the last half hour, so we were scrambling the last 30 minutes to stay on top of all the orders. After that we had a lesson with D and Brother H came joint teaching with us. It was a good lesson but it was basically just D asking deep doctrine questions and Brother H answering them as best he could. As a missionary I've learned to teach simple, true doctrine because that's when the spirit can testify to the people we are teaching. D got a lot of questions answered so that was good! He's still hung up on the fall of Adam though. It's hard to explain it. Like I know why it needed to happen, it's just hard to verbalize it in a way that makes sense to someone else. Brother G got hung up on the fall when he was investigating the church and has a really good explanation of how he got over it and gained a testimony of it. So we are trying to get those two together to talk about it! D didn't come to any of general conference and I'm not sure why. He said he had to work but he never really got back to us about anything, so it was a bummer. Right after D's lesson we had a lesson with B and J about the offices of Teacher and Deacon in the Aaronic Priesthood. B will become a Teacher this summer and J will be a Deacon. We went over the duties and responsibilities of a Teacher and Deacon with them and committed B to watch Priesthood session of conference with us, which he did, so that was awesome! That night we had a lesson with BG, who is a less active prospective Elder in our ward. He is working to get the Melchizedek Priesthood but he always has work and is struggling with smoking right now. He has been trying to get work off on Sundays for like a year or more and it hasn't been able to happen for him. He also has been trying to quit smoking for like 30 years. He's down to like 5 cigarettes a day so he is pretty close to quitting! We went over D&C 107 with him because he had some questions about his reading assignment from like 3 months ago. I had only met him once before, so I didn't really know him or know what was going on. We left him to read D&C 84:33-44 which is the oath and covenant of the Priesthood. We did some tracting after that and didn't see much success and then called it a night!
was a really busy day for us! We had a lesson at with T, who is a newer investigator we have been teaching. She has kind of lost her faith and is trying to get it back/strengthen it. She has a lot of questions that have been unanswered for years and we are helping her find answers to those questions through the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon! She has started reading the Book of Mormon and said she likes it so far. She also works on Sundays so she hasn't been able to come to church either. Getting people to church is seriously sooooooo hard. It's frustrating. We talked a lot about how God answers prayers and having faith that He will answer them. Last time we met she wanted to talk about why bad things happen to good people. We had planned to read this talk called "God Shall Wipe Away All Tears" by Elder Evan A. Schmutz from last October conference. It is a really awesome talk and I would encourage all those who are going through difficult times to read it.Anyway, we didn't get to the talk, but we told her to read it before next week. She asked all these really good questions right before we left and we told her we would answer all of them next time. Basically all of them can be answered with the plan of salvation. After that we had to go help the G move this huge couch from their basement up to their garage because J (Js boyfriend) is moving out. We also moved this exercise machine down to the basement for Sister G. She gave me some 35 pound dumbbells and a wall ball medicine ball so it was a good trade off. Then we had dinner with the Ns. Their oldest son is diabetic and so Sister N was asking me all these questions about how to handle diabetes and I gave some pointers I had learned or use, but I don't know if I was that much help. Brother O came joint teaching with us after that and we had a lesson with D and her fiancé who isn't a member. Everyone told us he wouldn't sit in on the lesson but he did! D used to be less active but is active now and she and M live together, but sleep in different rooms. So yeah.... but she is active now and he comes to church with her pretty often. He is really nice and I was glad he sat in on the lesson with us. After that we went and saw J and C. They let us in and we read 2 Nephi 31 with them and talked about the doctrine of Christ. We invited them to be baptized and J said no. Then he basically said that he didn't want to go against his family and was grateful for his dad for being a polygamist so that he could be born. Brother O asked them if God told them to join the church would they? They both said they would, so he said, "The only way you're going to know that this church is true is to ask God and listen for an answer." I seriously don't even think they have a testimony of their own church, they just grew up in it and don't really want to change. They aren't active or anything in it so I don't know. It's tough. They seemed a little upset that we asked them to be baptized, but that's what we are called to do, so oh well!
Thursday we had a lesson with HC again. He is struggling with his health a little bit. He will be 85 this week! He said he was excited to watch conference, so I'm hoping he was able to. He also told us he wants to come to fast because those are his favorite Sacrament meetings. We are still trying to figure out what his hold up is with coming to church. He has expressed a sincere desire to come for years, but he never does and no one can really figure out what his road block is. So that is our number one job this week with him. Before we saw H we stopped by this potential that Elder W and I found named S. She is Cherokee, and so I told her I had some Cherokee in my family line and then she opened right up and started talking to us. Anyway, we stopped by her trailer to give her a Book of Mormon and she was really excited to get it. We told her it was a record of the people of ancient America and their dealings with God and Jesus Christ. I figured since she was Cherokee that she would like reading it for that reason. She said she was glad we brought it by because she had to go to the courthouse to do taxes the next morning at to get in line and needed something to read while she was in line. She said she was glad to have the Book of Mormom to read haha. So that was pretty cool! We then biked down to this street we decided to tract and started knocking. Not a lot of people were home or wanted to talk, but we shared a few short messages with some people. This one guy came out and talked to us and told us he was Catholic and believed in Mother Mary and not God. He also said he didn't believe in the New Testament either, just the Old Testament. I don't know how that works, because Mary is in the New Testament, so yeah. I didn't say anything to him, just was like "Oh, that's cool!." Some people make me scratch my head sometimes. Anyway, we knocked this one door and met this super cool guy named J. He told us he was Catholic but he thought people should be able to decide what church they belong to for themselves. He didn't baptize his kids into the Catholic Church because he thought they should be able to choose what church they went to. He was super cool and was like, "I really appreciate what you guys are doing! We need more folks like you in the world!" He said he was out of town this week but said we could call him when he gets back and set up an appointment. It was sweet. Then we had dinner at the Ps and that was a party. Sister P made Elder S a "greenie dinner" so we had like 10 green foods haha. After dinner we helped Brother P move a huge cupboard thing from upstairs to downstairs. It wasn't able to fit down the stairs, so we used straps and lowered it from the 2nd floor window to the ground. it was legendary (see below photos). Then we had FHE at the G and we did a lesson on the Priesthood and patriarchal blessings. They've been pushing M to get his patriarchal blessing before he goes to college this year. It was a good lesson and we all got to share cool experiences we've had with either a Priesthood blessing or a patriarchal blessing. It was good!
was weekly planning. Brother and Sister S took us to this Chinese buffet for lunch. It was pretty good! They had some tasty salmon and sushi so I had some of that and some veggies and stuff. After that we helped one of Brother S's friends named CD move some stuff in his house out to the truck. He isn't a member but has met with missionaries in the past and is a cool guy. We will see if he is open to being taught again. We are helping him move some furniture from his office to his house later this week! We were out of miles for the month, so we decided to walk to dinner and tract and talk to everyone on the way up. It was like 4 miles away so we left at like . We tracted a few neighborhoods and didn't really find anyone but had some good conversations with people! We walked by this park where two guys were shooting some hoops. I stopped and said, "Hey, you guys wanna play two on two?" They were like no... so I said, "What's the matter? You scared of getting beat by two guys in church clothes?" They were like, "Uhhh no, we just don't want to play." I was like, "Wow ok." We talked to a few more kids playing basketball but no one was interested in playing us. We got to dinner and we had this super weird Laotian dinner. I don't know what it was but it was basically like rubber burrito things with weird meat and stuff in it. The outside part of the burrito was this white jelly stuff. It was not that great. I ended up eating a ton of tomatoes and cucumbers. After that Brother M came out with us to do some stop bys. We met with the D and had a little lesson with them. We invited A, who is a less active, to watch the Priesthood session. He said he would come, but he didn't show up. We were supposed to have a lesson with MK, who is a less active prospective Elder. He just had surgery on like , so we were going to give him a blessing and share a message with him. So we get to his grandparents house where his is staying and knock on the door and ring the bell and no one answers. So we called his phone and we could hear it ringing in the house and no one answered it. We figured he was asleep or something from the pain meds haha. Then we did some more stop bys and nobody was home, so yeah.....
was easily my favorite day this week! The G invited us over for breakfast and to watch conference. They had invited some non member friends over to watch so A's friends were there and then J and M, who are less active watched as well.Sister G made biscuits and gravy for breakfast and it was good! Conference was amazing this year. I absolutely loved it and I will send pictures of my notes from conference. In between sessions we got to throw the football in the QB net the Gs have in their backyard and play some basketball at a park by their house. Then we watched the second session of conference and then I got to FaceTime home to see Jackson open his mission call! That was so great to see the family and get to talk to all of you. That was seriously like the happiest feeling I've had in a while, just being able to see my brother open his mission call and see how hard he has prepared to be a good missionary! That brought me a lot of joy, Jackson! Then we got to go to Pizza Ranch with the Priesthood from our ward. It was so yummy! I love Pizza Ranch, and I didn't completely pig out, so that was good haha. Priesthood session was really good as well. I seriously just loved Conference. it was great and I got a lot of answers to questions I needed.
morning we had breakfast and coordination at Bishop C's house and then M's girlfriend, who isn't a member but lives at the G house, wanted a Priesthood blessing, so we just went over there to watch morning session and give her a blessing. I was asked to give the blessing, and it was really good! Afterwards she was like "How did you know all those things?" Also, Sister G said her wisdom teeth are feeling way better and the swelling went down a ton after the blessing. That was the main reason for the blessing was to help with that. After morning session we went to the church to open the building for afternoon session and watch the last session of conference. It was really bittersweet for me because I loved it and it had some really good answers to questions people had, but no one came to watch any sessions. I almost got like more sad as conference went on which is not what is supposed to happen. It was tough. I really want people to feel of the joy and be able to experience the blessings of the gospel, but it's tough to find those who are ready and desire it. We had dinner with the L family that evening. They are insane. We had like 4 kids screaming at us, playing the piano and the harmonica at the same time while one was meowing as loud as she could. It was crazy. After dinner we tracted and no one was super interested in talking to us. There was this one guy that was a Catholic and just went off on us and told us we were wrong and stuff. I just said have a good day and left. Elder S and I were commenting on how we both wish we could just take how we feel and what we know and give it to people for like 2 seconds so they could feel of the love and joy we have. It's so hard to verbalize it. I seriously have never desired people to be able to have the joy this gospel and church bring more than I have right now, and it seems like people want it less than ever right now. It's hard!
This week was good and it flew by, but it's been tough to just help people feel the spirit and know that what we are teaching is true. People just don't seem to have a desire or drive to keep commitments and make changes in their lives to help them be happy and feel God's love for them. It's a little disheartening, but I'm holding out hope and faith that someone we are teaching will figure it out or that we can find someone who is ready to receive the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know without a doubt this church is the true church of Jesus Christ on earth today. It is led a prophet called of God and apostles also called by God to lead and guide us. I know the Book of Mormon is true and is the keystone of our religion and will bring you closer to Christ and our Heavenly Father than any other book in the world. I'm so grateful for our loving Heavenly Father and his plan of salvation for us. I'm grateful we can repent and change our hearts and desires and improve every day. I'm so grateful for my family. I love you more than anything and pray for you each day! I'm glad we can be together forever. This knowledge brings such peace to my heart knowing that if anything happens to us we will see each other again one day. I'm grateful and humbled I have the opportunity to share this gospel. I hope and pray all of you can embrace and live this gospel that is so precious and dear to us. It is very hard to see people reject us day after day and turn away the truth and happiness we are bringing. But I know we will be blessed for our efforts to share it with the people of the missions we are assigned to labor in. God's work will roll forth and nothing can stop it! I love you all and hope you have a great week! Sending lots of prayers your way from Apple Valley, Minnesota.